How I use a personal stylist to reduce decision fatigue

by Productivity

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for a the 15-minute audio recording

Do you think you have to be fancy-pants (no pun intended) to use the services of a personal stylist? Are you someone ‘stuck in their look' and don't know how to change it up? I'm opening the closet door on how I use a personal stylist.

I like to look stylish, and I want my house to be comfortable without sacrificing aesthetics. What I don't like is shopping. Growing up, I subscribed to all types of fashion magazines – Teen, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and In Style. Throughout my 20s, I absolutely loved to window shop and check out the latest styles, attempting to mimic them with my limited budget. 

Something changed when I hit 30 that I absolutely could not stand to shop. It felt like a waste of time and money. The bigger the store, Belk, Kohl's, Macy's, or Target, the more I disliked it. My mom comes to visit twice a year, and I will actually save up the errands I have to run to make it less painful because she likes doing that kind of thing. 

I stopped subscribing to magazines in my early 30s because I didn't want to be subjected to ads telling me what I needed to buy to look in style (omg, the puns in this article write themselves!).

To look in my closet is the epitome of decision fatigue. I will just stare at it and drool. It's not like I don't know how to put together an outfit, and I don't even have that many clothes. I just don't like doing it. 

My Evolution of Using a Personal Stylist

For the last several years, I have hired a personal stylist. It started about seven years ago when I hired Eyenie Schultz, the Technicolor Priestess. She did a fashion audit for me and helped me find my style. She then shopped for me online and put things in a cart to decide if I wanted it. Without her, I never would have tried jogger pants 🙂

Then my tastes changed, and I wanted a little more uplevel and sophistication (with a rocker vibe). I worked with my business coach, who was a former fashion stylist. She helped me create a Pinterest board, made it easy by generating a list of dos and don'ts, and gave me designers that fit my look.

For the last four years, I've been so fortunate that one of my very best friends, Michelle Scaraglino, has been my stylist for everything! She has done my hair for 13+ years and started doing my makeup and clothing about four years ago.

As my haircut has changed from super short to shoulder-length to bob, it's changed the type of clothes I wear as well.

Marcey and Michelle

How I use a personal stylist

At every change of season, I go through all of my clothes. Michelle tells me what's in style (I'm not on social media, so I have no idea) and what to sell, donate, or keep because it will ultimately come back. 

Then she puts together 7-10 outfits for me, complete with jewelry and shoes. I snap a photo and store it in Evernote in a fashion folder. I tag each image Winter, Summer, Fall, Spring and Speaking, Business Casual, and Casual. 

Style

When I do my weekly planning, I'll often go to my library and decide the outfits I'm going to wear, put them together, attach a clothespin with the day of the week label, and voila! Getting ready in the morning is much faster. 

Michelle shops online for me if there is a specific item of clothing I need or if I have a photoshoot coming up. She's great about looking at sites like Poshmark or ThredUp to purchase clothing sustainably. 

ThredUp

I also use ThredUp to buy most of my clothes. I love that I can filter and reduce the decisions for me. I can filter by size, designer, and new with tags or like new. They have a great return policy and minimal restocking fee.

Other Stylist Services

I tried the Amazon Personal Shopper service, but it didn't go as well as I had hoped. I wouldn't say it's not a good service. It was my first experience, and I didn't like the clothing choices nearly as much as ThredUp. There's also Stitch Fix, which will send you a clothing box on a set schedule for you to try on and decide to purchase or return. I have friends and clients who swear by it.

Stylists for Men

My husband and three friends have used a stylist specifically dedicated to men. Susan Preston of Geek Adonis does personal shopping and styling. As a reward to himself a few years ago, my husband spent half a day with her shopping and coming up with an upgraded look. 

Stylists for my house.

I also employ Michelle for my house! We have an 1100 square foot house that we are slowly remodeling. I know a general style that I want, but there are just too many rugs, pillows, and lights for me to look at. I get overwhelmed. She knows what our house looks like (she is a bestie after all!). I've also sent her pictures of the space we need help with, and she'll narrow it down to three rugs or five different fabric types. Then I choose and buy! Totally worth the money. She loves it and would probably do it for free, but it's her business, and she has such a gift. 

I've also used a service called Modsy (use the link for 20% off your design package!) I sent them photos of two rooms I wanted to redecorate. They sent me designs of a new way to configure them with my existing or new furniture, lighting, and colors. We got several great ideas and ended up with a cozy sitting nook that wasn't used before.  

You don't have to be a fancy-pants!

When you consider your next investment, don't feel like you have to be rich to have a stylist. You could swap with a friend who loves shopping and creating outfits or putting rooms together. You could use a subscription service or find an in-person or online stylist who can meet with you and do a highly personalized session. 

Consider using a personal stylist. You can feel like a million bucks without thinking too hard and sacrificing time spent researching, shopping, or drooling in your own closet. 

want to be the first to hear health-powered productivity tips? subscribe here.

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects